CRR Basic Cycle School Solar Water System – The Gambia

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

This project summary has been redacted for security reasons to omit the specific project location.

Sxxxxx Fxxx Kxxxx, Central River Region, The Gambia

Community Description
The village that includes the Basic Cycle School is ethnically Fula with 20 compounds and approximately 230 residents. It is in the South Bank of the Central River Region in The Gambia. The Basic Cycle School (K- G9) has an enrollment of 874 students. There is only one solar-powered hand pump in the village which straddles a major national highway and the portion of the community that includes the school is not connected to the current water facility.

Problem Addressed
The schoolgirls who are traditionally responsible for collecting water for their families must cross the busy highway to do so. Due to the unavailability of clean drinking water in this part of the community and overuse of the existing hand pump, when the hand pump malfunctions it causes a serious water crisis. The villagers are forced to fetch water from close-by villages and an open well. All these factors negatively impact the health of the SBCS students and the community in general.

Project Description
This project is to build a solar-powered water system, including a borehole pump powered by 4 solar panels, a 4,000-liter water tank, and 4 taps distributed throughout the school.

Meetings were conducted with the community and school administration garnering local political support and increased public awareness of the need for clean water 24 hours a day. A water engineering company was consulted who advised on the technical solution to permanently address this problem. The project will include:

  • completion of the pipe network
  • purchasing of taps
  • purchasing solar panels
  • provision of the metal tower and welding the panels on it to protect the solar panels from breakage and potential theft
  • erecting and installation of the water tanks
  • completing the circuit by adding in the pump
  • training of men and women on water hygiene, water borne-diseases, and proper maintenance and use of the water system
  • instruction on time management to assist in girls’ education regarding study time versus water fetching

Water hygiene and management training will be conducted for all community members. The Village Development Committee (VDC) will be trained on institutional management, resource mobilization and management and basic maintenance of the solar panels. The Village has raised 10,000 dalasis for the project and will contribute labor.

Community Organization
The SBCS Water Committee with the support of the PCV, Counterpart, Village Development Committee (VDC), School Admin. and School Management Committee, Mother’s Group, Youth Group, and Community Members

Project Impact
Approximately 1,100 people

Let Girls Learn
This project qualifies as a Let Girls Learn project. The goals are:

  • an increase in attendance of girls at the local Basic Cycle School
  • reduction in the time spent fetching water
  • improvement in health for all community members due to a decrease in diarrhea and water-borne illnesses
  • increase in family nutrition from new community gardens

Project Administration
Baboucarr Jallow is a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer.  He was born in The Gambia and attended middle school, high school and university in Maryland before joining the Peace Corps.

Monitoring and Maintenance
The PCV and the village counterpart will be working with the Village Development Committee (VDC) which will establish a Water Committee. The members of the Water Committee will implement construction, labor, and fundraising activities, and will assign long-term maintenance responsibility. They will perform all oversight functions and ensure the timely implementation, monitoring, and evaluation after completion for a fully sustainable project. The engineering company will provide ongoing technical support in the event of any major breakdowns.

Water accessibility has long been an issue in the village and at the Basic Cycle School. The village has come together and raised 10,000 dalasis of the total funds needed to start the construction work. The community is very committed to sustaining this project and has set up an account that requires three people to withdraw funds for the maintenance of the water system. Each compound will be required to give a payment each month to help in maintaining the system.

The PCV near the site will monitor construction and do periodic evaluations.

Project Funding
This project has been funded by an anonymous donor. Please Donate using this button to support future projects in The Gambia, and we will notify PCV Baboucarr Jallow of your contribution.